Eleven buoys down, six to go!
The photo shows the most recent additions to our mooring buoy project. WSA as many of you know has taken on the task of preserving seventeen (17) of our favorite dive sites by installing mooring buoys to protect the fragile environment below. Started two plus years ago we have gotten to where we are by generous contributions from a few foundations and mostly funding from private donations by individuals, dive clubs and Washington Scuba Alliance itself.
The buoys pictured are going in at Hood Canal at Elephant Wall and Pinnacle's new dive site "Broken Leg". The last one we have just finished is going in at the Possession Point Ferry site. There will now be a buoy at both ends of the ferry. The two latest buoys going in Hood Canal were redone when they were once Pulali Point East and South buoys. The Navy didn't like them there because it interfered with their acoustical testing. So they were reworked, repainted, cleaned and made nearly new again. Those of you who have dived on any of the sites which have the buoys love to see them there and have praised there existence.
We have only six to go to finish the project and then we move onto our next big project – sinking a vessel in our waters of Washington State. The six remaining sites are two buoys at Dalco Wall, one more for Sunrise and the last three in Hood Canal at Flagpole, Arrowhead and Black Point. Please help us reach this goal and contribute what you can and get your name on a buoy. Each buoy costs $2,800.00.
Washington Scuba Alliance is a non-profit corporation which promotes diving, conservation and dive tourism. We have done many wonderful things in the past and want to do even more in the future. The stairs at Les Davis Park, Saltwater State Park artificial reef are just a couple of our other projects.
WSA's next project is to work closely with Port Angeles and make their new Underwater Marine Park on Ediz Hook a reality. We want to sink a retired (heavy emphasis on "TIRED") Washington State Ferry. Port Angeles is working with the two local tribes and the area politicians to make this a reality. Interested in what we are doing? We hope so.
October 27th, Washington Scuba Alliance will be hosting our 20th Anniversary Celebration there. We will have a number of interesting speakers there talking about artificial reefing, the economics of bringing something like this in and what it take to sink a large vessel safely and creating a one of a kind attraction which will draw not only divers to the area but aquatic tenants too. The current plan is to have the WSA celebration at the yacht club with a lunch and a dive opportunity(s) nearby. We will have special motel rates if there is enough interest to spend the night and see some of the other local attractions like bars, restaurants and shopping. It will be great fun. Support from the dive community on this new project is paramount to our success. Please come up and see what all the excitement is all about.
As most of you know, Washington Scuba Alliance worked with Washington State Parks to introduce a bill in Olympia to get funding to install a new artificial reef system at Saltwater State Park. The existing dive attractions at that time was two old wooden barges filled with gravel which have long since deteriorated and some tire reefs. The bill passed and $163,000.00 was earmarked to this project. It was finished in 2009. An Army dive team removed the tire reefs that had been put there in the mid 70's for fish attraction which proved to not work at all. Instead they started leaching bad chemicals into the water. Today, the new reef is one of the best local artificial reefs created recently using quarried granite rock and manmade materials in the form of concrete poles laid over the reef tops. The reef is in the form of three finger reefs at a depth of 25-80 feet deep. This was originally conceived back in the early 90's but got lost to certain government agencies in red tape. WSA was involved in the original project also. Sea life is already gaining a foothold there and making it a wonderful dive site.
Today the project is getting additional attention in the form of the mooring buoys that are located on the site. The original buoys are looking sad and not located to help the divers find the site. Randy Williams and members of the Marker Buoy Dive Club are working to fix that problem. Working closely with State Parks and the Ranger in charge of the park, they are revamping the buoys and making them much better looking and more functional to divers. The revitalized buoys will get new paint, stencils and donation plaques. They will also be anchored properly and located better to show divers where the reefs are located and also use them as a rest stop to and from shore by having hand holds attached. Alpha Marine Installations will be doing the majority of installations.
Funding for this project is coming from Silent World Diving Systems Inc. Craig Willemsen and a number of his customers are helping pay for the project to be completed. Washington Scuba Alliance is going to cover any extra costs on this project if necessary. The money we received from the silent auction at the Dive EXPO will be used for that purpose. WSA continues to strive to make our Northwest a diver friendly location. The most important buoy will be one right on top of the site that charter or other dive boats can attach to and get immediate access to the reef. This will be located in about fifty (50) feet of water so all experience levels can have easy access. The other buoys will be used for getting compass headings from shore and to rest at.
Saltwater State Park is not one of the original seventeen (17) sites that WSA is working on to protect the dive attractions from anchor damage. We currently have 6 of those sites left to install when someone or group buys them. Should you know of a project that you may think will benefit the dive community visit our website and let us know. www.wascuba.org. Our next big project is at Port Angeles. Stay tuned, it is a big one.
Review the latest WSA Board activity here:More info here.
View the Titlow Artificial Reef Project slideshow by the Bellarmine Preparatory School Marine Chemistry Program right here!
30 Things you can do for the Marine Environment.
WA Dive Flag Rules - Important information for WA divers. Check it out here